Review – Doctor Who: The Sea Devils
“Doctor Who: The Sea Devils,” which features the Third Doctor (Jon Pertwee) and Jo Grant is a pretty good serial, with some very nice costume and set design. It does, however, take a bit too long to get the ball rolling, and frankly has a bit of material that could likely have been cut out to shorten it. All in all, it does make for enjoyable viewing.
The story begins with The Doctor and his Companion, Jo, going to visit the prison where The Master (who was captured and arrested by UNIT in the previous serial) is being held, like Napoleon at Elba. While there, he learns of a series of mysterious freighter sinkings, leading him to to investigate, and discovering a new, aquatic, colony of Silurians (previously encountered in “Doctor Who and the Silurians”) who are attacking ships as part of their plans to regains control of the world. Aggravating matters, The Master attempts to join forces with the Silurians so he can get revenge on the Doctor in exchange for helping them wipe out humanity.
The acting in the story is very nice, particularly from both Jon Pertwee and Roger Delgado. Delgado’s performance is much more subdued then Anthony Ainley’s later performances as The Master. The special effects and set design are pretty good as well, without any of the noticeable difficulties that the later seasons (from Tom Baker on) were notorious for. It helps that this story has some of the most non-gravel quarry location shooting of any other Doctor Who serial I’ve seen short of “Curse of Fenris” and “Battlefield”.
On the minus side, the show is very slow getting underway. Early on, the Silurian storyline is all but forgotten for about an episode and a half. Further, we end up getting saddled in the end with a character whose sole purpose, it seems, is to annoy the crap out of everybody, both hero and villain (and thus the audience). Such characters, I’ve always found, tend to be better off not being present at all, with their duties and actions getting moved about to other characters.
That said, it’s an interesting story, and certainly worth viewing. At present it’s only available in the “Beneath The Surface collection, which includes 2 other Silurian stories, I’ll be viewing those later on and posting my thoughts as I get around to them.